Rehearsing for the Prom | Lisa Bucknell & Alex Isted

Our Winter Prom is only two days away. Here is a snippet of a piano run for violist, Lisa Bucknell; violinist, Alex Isted & accompanist, Chad Vindin, who are rehearsing Mozart’s Concertante for Violin and Viola K 364. Lisa and Alex are both Masters graduates of the Royal College of Music and have already gained impressive solo and orchestral CV’s.

240_f_30980069_twmu3ufbvkfq9icyudnitfpxf3wnszpcTickets are still on sale for our concert at St John’s Smith Square celebrating our very talented awardees who have travelled to the UK to complete their advanced musical studies. The Tait Chamber Orchestra will be conducted by Jessica Cottis.

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Concertante rehearsal for the Tait Winter Prom.

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Duncan Rock | Harewood Young Artist | English National Opera

British/Australian baritone Duncan Rock was a Tait Awardee in 2008 and a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama  and the National Opera Studio, London. He has appeared in major roles at the Glyndebourne Festival, English National Opera, the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), Théâtre du Châtelet, Deutsche Oper (Berlin), Teatro Real (Madrid), the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Opera North, the Boston Lyric Opera and Welsh National Opera.

We are thrilled to see the great success this very talented Western Australian singer has accomplished in a relatively short time. Below is a post from the ENO website about the Harewood Young Artists programme which gave him so many excellent opportunities. This type of advanced training/on the job experience is crucial to develop a great artist.

The Dowager Countess of Harewood was a professional violinist in Sydney and has been a dear friend of the Trust’s from the very beginning. We are honoured to say she is our Patron. To celebrate her 90th Birthday we are dedicating the performance of Mozart’s, Violin & Viola Concertante with Orchestra K364  to her in our 2016 Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith Square. Please come if you can. Book here

ENO Harewood Artists’ Match Campaign 2016

Support opera’s rising stars and see your donation double. More here

Donate now
From Monday, 21 November, to Thursday, 1 December, 2016, donations made to the ENO Harewood Artists’ programme will matched, making them twice as valuable to ENO.


We have £70,000 ready to be matched but we need your help to reach our target and unlock these vital funds. At ENO we are committed to nurturing talent. The ENO Harewood Artists’ programme makes a crucial contribution to developing the next generation of operatic stars. The programme costs over £200,000 a year to deliver and is funded entirely through donations.
The Harewood Artists’ programme provides exceptional training and mentoring to nine of the best British or British-trained singers at the beginning of their professional careers and gives opera’s rising stars the opportunity to develop and learn whilst being cast in roles on the London Coliseum stage. Each singer undertakes a programme of vocal and language training, is coached by experts in their repertoire and receives ongoing support from members of ENO’s artistic and music staff.
Previous Harewood Artists include Sophie Bevan, Katherine Broderick, Allan Clayton, Elizabeth Llewellyn, Iain Paterson, Duncan Rock and Sarah Tynan.
This season, our Harewood Artists performances include: Mary Bevan Don Giovanni; Andri Björn Róbertsson Tosca & Rigoletto; Nicky Spence Lulu; Matthew Durkan Rigoletto & Partenope; Katie Coventry, Soraya Mafi & David Webb The Pirates of Penzance; and Samantha Price The Winter’s Tale.
Matched support is generously donated by The Shears Foundation, The Queen Anne’s Gate Foundation and Talal & Lina Kanafani. For more information or to donate over the phone please contact patrons@eno.org or call 020 7845 9331.

ENO Harewood Artists’ Match Campaign 2016

On rejections | Seraglio

A non-musical pressed blog but so relevant to us too. A very well written piece about rejection and all that entails. Jenny’s debut novel THE SECRET SON received rave reviews in Australia…a little birdie tells me she quite like Wagner after seeing the Opera Australia, Ring. Might she be tempted to write an opera libretto (See we got back to music…)

thesecret-son

Jenny Ackland is a writer and teacher who lives in Melbourne. Her first novel THE SECRET SON was published by Allen & Unwin in September 2015, and her second novel LITTLE GODS is forthcoming in 2017. LITTLE GODS has a gothic Mallee 1980s setting and is about resilience and revenge.

I’m writing this mainly I guess for any writers who might be reading. Rejections (note the plural) are part of the game. And it is a game, not a fun game or one of manipulation, but of patience, perseverance, and professionalism. Another thing: it’s a long game.

I wrote about rejection here, for author Lee Kofman, and how me submitting a terribly-written travel article back in 1990 (and getting rightly rejected – and in retrospect it was a LOVELY ‘No’ letter, I have the feeling it came from Jonathan Green) meant that I didn’t submit anything for years. I didn’t stop writing, I’m not that precious or thin-skinned, but If I’d known then what I know now, a slow-dawning awareness that started building once I started writing seriously with a view to publication from 2008 onwards, I would have seen that not only was that piece a draft, wholly unworked and not worthy of appearance outside of my diary pages, rejection does not mean you are shit.

Now, as I am sitting with a completed second novel manuscript, the first draft of a third ready for next-stage development, and fourth in its early stages, I am so glad that not only was that pathetic travel piece denied its place in the canon lol, but also that the first few submissions I made to literary journals were nixed as well. I know now that my novels need a long, long time in the oven, with the preparation of them like one of those crazy recipes that have so many ingredients you almost decide not to cook the bloody thing, but then you think, well, give it a whirl, it’s the weekend, I’ve got the whole day, and you make the hugest mess of the kitchen, use every pot and pan, and you kind of enjoy it but kind of think ‘why am I even doing this?’ And it took me a while to realise that if I can manage my impatience by thinking ‘the thing will improve, take your time, this is nowhere near finished’ and resist rushing it to readers, an agent, the publisher, then the pressure comes off a bit.

Advice on how to attract a publisher

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Source: On rejections | Seraglio

Jessica Cottis: “There’s still a block for women conductors” – Limelight Magazine

The conductor of this year’s Tait Memorial Trust concert on gender, education and musical styles.

It’s that time of year again in London when the beautiful concert hall at St. John’s Smith Square is taken over by the Australian, Tait Memorial Trust.

The venue will be filled with talented Australian musicians and singers, many having benefitted from a Tait music scholarship. November 30th will be an opportunity for audiences to hear a wonderful programme of music and spot the Australian stars of the future.

If you are living in London or have friends over there, you should rush to get tickets. Conducting and curating this concert will be the internationally acclaimed Australian-born conductor, Jessica Cottis. On a wet and stormy London morning we manage to Skype and I ask first about her involvement with the Tait Memorial Trust.

“I sit on their advisory board and together we make the artistic decisions for programming concerts,”

she says.

“I benefitted from a Tait scholarship myself so feel really excited to be working with students and professionals who have come up through the same route.”

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Source: Jessica Cottis: “There’s still a block for women conductors”

Tait Awards 2016

The Tait Memorial Trust is pleased to be assisting these fine young Australian artists in 2016.

The Tait Adopt a Performer scheme
The adopt a performer scheme allows a donor to directly support a young Australian performing artist annually for a three-year commitment. Please click here to learn how to actively involve yourself in the career development of a young performer.

The greatest return, however, would be to see your awardee fulfill their true potential and, as they graduate to a professional career, the pleasure of knowing that you played an important part in making this possible.

Royal College of Music
Tait Scholar – The Julian Baring family
The Royal College of Music
Sally Law, Violin
To learn more about Sally please click here

sally_law_tait_scholar_2016
Sally Law, Tait Scholar

Royal Northern College of Music
Higgins Scholar – The Higgins family
Waynne Kwon, Cello
To learn more about Waynne please click here

Waynne Kwon, cello, Higgins Family scholar
Waynne Kwon, Higgins Scholar

The Leanne Benjamin Awards 

selected by Leanne Benjamin AM OBE.

Financial assistance and support for young Australian dancers studying at major UK ballet schools

John Frost – Leanne Benjamin Award
The Royal Ballet School
Rebecca Blenkinsop

Rebecca Blenkinsop
Rebecca Blenkinsop

Leanne Benjamin Award
The English National Ballet School
Chloe Keneally

Chloe Keneally, Leanne Benjamin Awards 2016. The English National Ballet School
Chloe Keneally

Leanne Benjamin Award
The English National Ballet School
Lauren Songberg

Lauren Songberg
Lauren Songberg

Partner Award Funding

Royal Over-Seas League Tait Prize
Award funded by Chevalier Richard Gunter
Australian musician showing the most promise
Ann Beilby, Viola

annie-beilby
Ann Beilby

John Frost, Frank and Viola Tait Award
Australian International Opera Awards
Nathan Lay, Baritone

Nathan Lay
Nathan Lay

Bel Canto Awards
Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation
A Concert platform for a young Australian/New Zealand singer
Emma Moore, Soprano

Emma Moore
Emma Moore

Tait & Sir Charles Mackerras Chair
A Chair in the Southbank Sinfonia for the duration of the annual programme. This award is made possible due to a generous gift from the Estate of Lady Mackerras to fund a portion of the Chair for at least the next 10 years. This year the Tait contribution to this award has been made by Stephanie McGregor & Albert Kwok.

Sujin Park
Sujin Park

John Amis Award
Dartington International Summer School
For a 1 week course of intensive study for an Australian musician
Matthew Thomson, Tenor

Matthew Thomson
Matthew Thomson

Extraordinary Awards

Margaret Rodgers Award
Selected by Margaret Rodgers personally
Cameron Campbell, Viola

Cameron Campbell
Cameron Campbell

Margaret Rodgers Award
Selected by Margaret Rodgers personally
Nick Mooney, French Horn

Nicholas Mooney
Nicholas Mooney

Whalley and Tait Gift
Special funding to assist with the purchase of a 1930 Natale Carletti (Bologna), Viola
from the Whalley family and the TMT
Lisa Bucknell, Viola

Lisa Bucknell
Lisa Bucknell

Tait General Awards

Award funded by The Thornton Foundation
To assist with continued private study
Andrey Lebedev, Guitar

Andrey Lebedev
Andrey Lebedev

Award funded by the VEC Acorn Trust
To assist with continued private study
Jo Dee-Yeoh, Cello

Jo Dee Yeoh
Jo Dee Yeoh

Award funded by The Thornton Foundation
To assist with continued private study
Vivien Conacher, Mezzo-Soprano

Vivien Conacher
Vivien Conacher

Award funded by The Hunter family
To assist with continued private study
Krystal Tunnicliffe, Piano Accompanist

Krystal Tunnicliffe
Krystal Tunnicliffe

Award funded by Louise Worthington
To assist with continued private study
Ashlyn Tymms, Mezzo Soprano

Ashlyn Skye Tymms
Ashlyn Skye Tymms

Behind The Ring: Part Three – Siegfried — Re:hearsal Magazine

Moving into the theatre with Opera Australia

Siegfried, Opera Australia 2016 – Photo by Jeff Busby

The stage rehearsals are here. After 6 weeks in the rehearsal studio, 12 months of planning, preparation and meetings, and 3 years since the first performance of this Cycle, we’re in the State Theatre in Melbourne, ready to throw everything we’ve done in the rehearsal rooms onto the stage.The stage rehearsals bring their own special kind of magic that isn’t possible in the confines of the rehearsal room. Suddenly, after weeks of being figuratively (if not literally) staring up the noses of the singers, the directing team is perched at the production desk about half-way back in the stalls and we’re able to see the full height, width, and depth of the set and its surrounds.

Siegfried, Opera Australia 2016 – Photo by Jeff Busby

The stage sessions are (almost) always my favourite part of the production; there are many worse places to be in the world than nestled in the red velvet comfort of the State Theatre. For me, there’s nothing quite as exciting as sitting bleary-eyed late at night in an otherwise empty theatre, and staring at the set as the all-important, yet subtle, nuances of lighting are achieved.

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Source: Behind The Ring: Part Three – Siegfried — Re:hearsal Magazine

Professional Ballet Dancer to Business Owner | Claudia Dean Coaches For Success | Ballet News

Former Tait Awardee Claudia Dean graduated from The Royal Ballet School in August 2011, having moved to London aged 16 to train at the Upper School in Covent Garden. She was the recipient of the Tait Memorial Trust, Dance Arches Award in 2011, and went on to be offered a contract by The Royal Ballet. In 2014 Claudia made the difficult decision to return home to Australia, we are delighted to see that this very talented young dancer is passing the baton to the next generation of aspiring dancers in her homeland. We wish her all the very best and look forward to hearing more about her work in Australia.

The article below was published by Ballet News, May 2015.

Claudia Dean | Ballet Dancer to Business Owner

Sprezzatura is the Italian word for nonchalance; the effortless art of making something difficult look easy. The sustained hard work needed to conceal the effort has been a hallmark of Claudia Dean’s training and professional ballet career.

Claudia Dean graduated from The Royal Ballet School in August 2011, having moved to London aged 16 to train at the Upper School in Covent Garden. In her native Australia she had been dancing since the age of four, and had won a number of prestigious competitions including the Gold Medal plus the Audience Choice Award at the Genée International Ballet Competition in 2009.

I interviewed Dean for my Student to Star series at the time of her graduation, a few weeks before she started work in the Company, and I asked her what she anticipated the differences might be between school and company life. She told me, “I think it’s going to be a bit of a change for me. I will be my own person having to be responsible for myself.  At school, you have teachers guiding you, although we work for ourselves, there is still a lot of extra support. Also, no uniform! I will have to decide what to wear each day which will be very different !”

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Source: Professional Ballet Dancer to Business Owner | Claudia Dean Coaches For Success | Ballet News | Straight from the stage – bringing you ballet insights

Where it all began – Interview: Liane Keegan – Classic Melbourne

Our Inaugural Concert at Australia House, 1992.
Our Inaugural Concert at Australia House, 1992

Lovely interview with our first awardee, Liane Keegan. Liane was the reason that Isla Baring created the Tait Memorial Trust in 1992.

Liane Keegan with Isla Baring
Liane Keegan with Isla Baring

Liane wanted to further her studies in the UK but needed financial assistance to allow her to continue. Isla offered to produce a concert at Australia House, invited her friends,  and due to their generosity raised a great deal of money and the Trust was born…well it wasn’t quite that simple but that is how we started. 

Now 24 years later the Trust has helped over 300 young Australians and has raised more than £600,000 to assist young Australian performing artists to complete their studies in the United Kingdom. And it all began with a young contralto from Victoria.

nimmo_baring
Derek Nimmo with Isla Baring at the first Tait Event 1992

Now we are thrilled to see Liane is at the very top of her chosen profession and is singing Erda in the Neil Armfield production of Wagner’s epic Ring at Melbourne’s State Theatre, with Opera Australia.

Below is her interview with fellow Australian, Deborah Humble that was published in Classic Melbourne


Deborah Humble talks with dramatic contralto Liane Keegan about her musical life in Melbourne and recreating the role of Erda in the 2016 Melbourne Ring.

What motivated your return to Australia in 2012 and what is your perception of the cultural and artistic life here by comparison?

I no longer enjoyed working in opera in Germany. I had been living overseas for 20 years by this stage and felt it was time to come home.

The fest system stifles individual development if you are an ensemble member as I was at the Deutsche Opera. Without being able to supplement my monthly stipend with guest contracts it was also no longer financially viable to remain in Germany.

Since my return to Melbourne my life has been extremely happy and fulfilled. I have had some wonderful opportunities with my singing and my teaching studio was very quickly established and I now have many talented young singers working with me on a weekly basis. I also established XLArts.org, a not for profit group, with conductor Patrick Burns and we work to provide performance opportunities for developing singers of all ages and stages, to help them further develop their craft and skill set as burgeoning opera singers.

The opera and arts scene here in Australia is very different to Europe. In Australia we don’t have the commitment to the arts that the Europeans do either financially or culturally. In Europe very young children are taken to the opera not as a special treat but as a part of their daily life. Here the companies are working hard on this next generation of opera lover and there is some very fine work being done by these companies in Australia. However, I do not feel that more funding to the Arts is the answer but better education. The lack of music education in schools here now means that exposure for the young to art and culture is just not there in their foundation years and that is vitally important to the future of our artistic culture.

Melbourne is fabulously cultural and creative and certainly has the most going on in the field of opera of all our capital cities. I was amazed and rather overwhelmed by the choice of entertainment available and could not get over how much the arts scene had “exploded” in Melbourne since my departure in 1992. It is fabulous to see that there are companies and groups catering to the needs of performers at all levels and to suit all musical tastes. I was thrilled that we still have a Victorian opera company as I was overseas during the demise of its predecessor and that made me very sad indeed.

The orchestras in Melbourne are also world class and I have been most fortunate to work with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as well as the many and varied community and council sponsored orchestras. We now have the Melbourne Recital Centre and the vast amount of performances offered there are of an extremely high standard. As an audience member all my needs are catered for and I am more often than not, spoilt for choice! My needs as a performer are also met here in Melbourne and I am busier than I ever was in Europe….

Read More

Source: Interview: Liane Keegan – Classic Melbourne

Article details:Interview: Liane Keegan
Published: 14th November, 2016 Author: Deborah Humble

Deborah Humble joins the Music Board of the Tait Memorial Trust

Acclaimed for her performances of the works of Richard Wagner, Australian mezzo-soprano, Deborah Humble is one of Australia’s most successful international singers. She has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Salzburg Easter Festival, Seattle Symphony, with the Stuttgart Philharmonic, the Hamburg Philharmonic and the London Mozart Players and at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. We are delighted to confirm that Deborah has agreed to join the Music Board, of esteemed Australian performers and artists, of the Tait Memorial Trust.

After gaining a Bachelor of Music from the University of Adelaide and a Masters Degree from the University of Melbourne, Deborah was a member of the Victoria State Opera Young Artist Programme. Having been a Principal Artist for both Opera Australia and The State Opera of Hamburg she has embarked upon a freelance career which takes her all over the world. Deborah is a highly sought after adjudicator and advanced teacher in Australia and recently gave a master class for the Melba Trust in Melbourne, as part of her role as a Mentor with the Trust, and was also invited to adjudicate for the Sydney Eisteddfod

The Music Board and the Artistic Planning Committee bring their vast international experience to assist us in selecting our Annual awards. Over the past three years our awards have more than doubled, and have  increased to £40,000 per annum, with several awards of £5,000 per awardee, the selection process is vital to ensure the most deserving and talented young artists are supported in their studies.

lifestyle4
Deborah Humble, Mezzo-Soprano

Deborah joins our Music Board which is chaired by TMT Chairman, Isla Baring OAM

Caroline Almonte, Concert Pianist
Julian Gavin, Operatic Tenor
Dr Leslie Howard, Concert Pianist
Deborah Humble, Operatic Mezzo-Soprano
Liane Keegan, Operatic Dramatic-Contralto
Cameron Menzies, Stage & Opera Director
Anthony Roden, Operatic Tenor & Teacher

Tait Artistic Planning
Jessica Cottis, Conductor
Jayson Gillham, Concert Pianist
Katrina Sheppeard, Operatic Soprano
Chad Vindin, Accompanist

To apply for a Tait Award please check our website here for further information.

Tait Awardee, Kevin Penkin composes original score to celebrate Rio Tinto's 50 years of iron ore mining

We were delighted to learn that Western Australian composer and Tait Awardee, Kevin Penkin has composed an original score commissioned by Rio Tinto in 2016, to mark 50 years since Rio Tinto’s first contracted shipment of iron ore which departed Dampier for the Yawata Iron and Steel Company in Japan.

Hoan Maru 1966,  Rio Tinto
Hoan Maru 1966, Rio Tinto

Ahead of this milestone, thousands of Australian contractors and suppliers laid almost 300 kilometres of railway, moved 12 million cubic metres of earth and rock and installed 300,000 tonnes of plant and equipment. The company also built the towns of Dampier and Tom Price, and dredged a port to accept the largest ore carriers of the day. Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said

“When the MV Houn Maru set sail 50 years ago nobody could have predicted that Pilbara iron ore would underpin Australia’s economic growth. “The Pilbara’s vast iron ore deposits, and the people who developed them, have helped build modern Australia and some of the world’s leading economies,”

Kevin was our first Tait Scholar which enabled him to complete his studies at the Royal College of Music. The debut performance of Hoan Maru, by Perth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jessica Gethin was recorded live at the 50th anniversary celebration on Friday 26th August, 2016 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

B i o g r a p h y

Kevin Penkin, Tait Scholar
Kevin Penkin, Tait Scholar 2014/15

Kevin Penkin is an Australian composer who has written for video games, anime, film and the concert stage. He won ‘Outstanding Vocal Theme’ at the 2013 Video Game Music Awards for his song ‘I Race the Dawn’, and was nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ in 2012 by Square Enix Music Online for his work with Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu on the game ‘Juza Engi Engetsu Sangokuden’.

 Since developing an interest for Japan at an early age, it was always a goal for Kevin to compose for both video games and anime. Recent efforts have seen him write for the anime series ‘Norn9’, and the highly anticipated sci-fi film ‘Under the Dog’. While expanding in the world of anime, he has remained passionate about video games, composing for the indie hits ‘Defenders Quest’, ‘Implosion – Never Lose Hope’, and ‘Deemo’.

Kevin moved to London in 2013 to attend the Royal College of Music to pursue a Masters of Composition for Screen, from which he graduated from in June of 2015. He was selected as the inaugural Tait Scholar which gave him a £5,000 per annum scholarship to support his studies. The Tait Trust commissioned an original piece for solo flute and Chamber Orchestra entitled ‘Changing Feet’ which was debuted at the 2014 Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith’s Square in December 2014.

Changing Feet is about changing pace. Leaving the world’s most isolated city to live in one of the most industrious and compact environments requires a huge mental change. This piece tries to reflect not only the mentality of someone who grew up in Perth, but the experience of moving to London and ultimately returning home back to Australia. This work explores what one could miss of Perth, be it the silence, the space or the natural beauty.

Kevin Penkin composer. 29th September 2014

Listen to a sample of more of Kevin’s work on Soundcloud

During his time as a student, he heavily expanded his efforts to be involved in local projects. As a result, Kevin is now working on UK based short films and theatre. He is also involved in concert music, writing for ensembles such as the ‘Perth Chamber Orchestra’, ‘Greywing Ensemble’, and the ‘And So Forth Opera Company’.